Interview with Klerissa McDonald Founder of Curly By Nature (& Competition)

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Klerissa McDonald

Klerissa McDonald is the founder and creative director of award winning UK Brand Curly By Nature.  She is based in North West London and has a family and two children aged 7 and 4. Not only has she perviously worked in salons styling hair she is has a BSc Honours in Management Sciences and Spanish and is also Certified in Advanced Natural Haircare Product Development.

I have had the pleasure in trying out her products past so she was kind enough to stop by the lounge for an interview and to give some products away. If you want to be in with a chance of winning read on.

Angel: When did you set up your business and why?
Klerissa: I set up Curly By Nature as a vehicle for my passion. I am driven to provide solutions for people- For people that have a desire to take great care of their hair, body and environment and for people that require guidance and support in taking good care of their hair. From the tender age of eight, I developed my passion to care for and style hair. I loved to be adventurous with hair, finding fun in creating beautiful protective styles on my own hair as well as family, friends and regular clients. After experiencing work life in several London salons, I witnessed the sad and shocking stories of chemical and heat damage that was plaguing the industry and the community. My desire to develop natural solutions for what I call ‘genetically curly’ hair began to grow. Instead of continuing to build a career in styling, I decided to focus on developing alternative effective natural haircare solutions to enhance and maintain the health of the hair and prevent common hair issues associated with heat and chemical treatments.

Angel: That is a wonderful reason to start, did you face any significant challenges?
Klerissa: The reality is that I experience challenges on a daily basis but it strengthening me, giving me character. For me, the biggest thing that I had to deal with was from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey is rejection and doubters. I have had many knock-backs on my journey with people saying that it may not work for various reasons. I stayed true to myself, remained positive and persevered. I learnt that when people do not understand you or your idea—it is easy for them to say that it won’t work. Having faith in yourself, understanding how to best communicate and making sure you know what you are talking about helped me to overcome my challenges.

Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo

Angel: Staying true to yourself is a good positive way of dealing with challenges, so now what does Curly By Nature mean to you?
Klerissa: Our name Curly By Nature® was chosen because we specifically design our products and services for each person who is born with or naturally develops Genetically Curly Hair® despite its current condition, style, state and no matter one’s ethnic origin. In fact it is amazing for chemically straightened or coloured hair. The DNA helix logo represents the curls and bends in genetically curly air, it also represents ‘origination’ with curls being in our DNA. It represents nature and science which is what we employ to formulate high performance solutions. We truly are inspired by nature and pledge to only employ high quality pure ingredients sourced from around the world that has been proven to benefit the hair, scalp and environment.

Angel: So now you have the products, what makes them different to others on the market?Klerissa: Our formulations are very complex, high performing eco- luxe solutions using 100% naturally derived ingredients that nourish, strengthen and intensely moisturise the hair and scalp. We are Genetically Curly Hair® care experts taking pride in using traditional artisan methods to produce high performance hair care and focused on creating and delivering holistic solutions and education. We’re passionately dedicated to sourcing premium quality ingredients proven to benefit both your hair, scalp, body, family and the environment in the best possible way. What’s more, the therapeutic benefits gained from the purity, integrity and complexity of our formulations are truly second to none.

The Curly By Nature Healthy Haircare Kit, (Shampoo, Conditioning Mask and Hair Repair Oil)

Angel: Who would you say your products are for?
Klerissa: For people that have a desire to take great care of their hair, body and environment with high performing professional natural products and for people that require guidance and support in taking good care of their hair.

Angel: For someone wanting to try out your products where would you recommend they start?
Klerissa: Contact me directly at info@curlybynature.com I can direct them to their nearest salon or outlet to experience and or purchase.

Angel:  I have tried and really liked your Nourishing Gloss Balm it made my hair soft and shiny. What is your favourite product in your range?
Klerissa: Every product has a different function and are the best in its own category but overall, I would recommend the Hair Repair Oil because of it multi-purpose capabilities. It may be used as a detangler, Hot Oil Treatment, Oil rinse, scalp massage, heat protectant, sealant and it can double up with other products if you need more moisture.

Nourishing Gloss Balm

Angel: Moving away from CBN Who inspires you and why?
Klerissa: I have many sources of inspiration including my husband, mother, father, family, peers, other beauty brand founders and bloggers. However, my daughter and my cousin truly ignited my inspiration. My cousin is biracial with lovely tight curls, her mother is white with beautiful curly hair, her father is black with dreadlocks. I used to babysit her from when she was a baby and as she got older I used to do style her hair with designer canerow’s hair from time to time. I then trained her and her mother how to take care of it as she got older and independent. It was then when I understood the need for everyday people to access quality advice and products. When I had my daughter (now aged 4), my desire to serve people with honest haircare solutions (both products & services) with integrity was at its most strongest. Not only did I NOT want her and every other child to experience that sad reality of what many curlies have previously experienced (and currently experiencing) with burns (from chemical processing & heat), breakage, damage, self image issues, confidence issues, badmouthing, abusing, neglecting or even hiding one’s own hair and the list goes on. I have continuously been inspired to personally help people through sharing my expertise and products for the whole family to use, that is effective on curls despite your ethnicity and that benefits the body and environment too.

Klerissa's Daughter

Klerissa’s Daughter

Angel: Tell us your hair story?
Klerissa: In short, I have done almost everything you can imagine. I was in love with my natural hair from when I was a toddler. My mother encouraged me to take care of it myself so I have done so independently from the age of 8. When I was 17 I experimented with relaxer. It was great at first but despite taking good care of it with professional care and attention, the chemicals and I did not get on – and the crown fell out. After that I listened to my body and stopped relaxing it. I have learnt through both expert training and experience that there is so much more to healthy hair care and it should be viewed holistically. Being anaemic and low in Vitamin D makes me more at risk to breakage and thinning so a healthy balanced diet, a high water intake and using Curly By Nature has a tremendous impact on the health of my hair. So far I have worn many styles including wigs, weaves and have recently coloured it for the first time plus I have big chopped 3 times. I think that people should have the freedom to experiment and express themselves through their hair without being boxed into a stereotype. However, I know that loving your natural self is essential for great healthy hair which boosts confidence and in practice, hair health must come before styling.

Klerissa Hair Story

Angel:  Gosh my hair started falling out in relaxer too…Klerissa In my opinion you have both the qualifications and the experience to work in this field, what is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to make their own products?
Klerissa: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Use multiple strategies and research methods. Test your theories and conduct as much primary research as possible—this is a great way to learn about how they can achieve their goals easier and faster.  Share your idea and thoughts and get feedback. Make sure you are compliant with the current EU regulations and do lots of product testing making sure that it is safe to use. There is no point reinventing the wheel. Get advice from people who have ‘been there and done it’ what can you learn from them?

Angel:  Finally It was mentioned on my facebook group recently how women feel pressured to maintain defined curls and twist outs and that just wearing a fro is not considered beautiful. What are your thoughts?
Klerissa: I think that this statement may be true for some people. I love curls, fro’s and all the above- defined or not. In all honesty, I, have been one of those people- I think mostly because I represent a company called “Curly By Nature” so people naturally look at my hair and judge automatically. Pressure is not the word lol. I realised that there is a fine line and it is easy to get caught up in other people’s expectation of what they think I should look like. I decided that whilst I am the no.1 brand ambassador, I will not conform to other people’s expectations and do what’s best for me and my sanity. In fact, I recently cut and coloured my hair- everyone (I mean EVERYONE!) questioned my motivation. The truth is, as long as you are grooming your hair with tender love and care (using Curly By Nature lol) and enhancing the health of your hair, it should not matter whether you define your curls or not and you should not make that define you- in my opinion.

Angel…Wait before you go, you used to style hair?? Can you do mine?
LOL! I offer holistic consultations and treatment programmes and services (For more info please email info@curlybynature.com) I occasionally style hair but would prefer to recommend an amazing salon called Adornment365 in Brixton. I currently do hair care consultations there and the stylists are professional and actually care for your hair.

COMPETITION TIME

WIN WIN WIN

Win a set from Curly By Nature of Moisture Shampoo, Intensive Conditioning Mask, Hair Repair Oil & Nourishing Gloss Balm

Or be one of 3 Shampoo’s

Like and Comment on this post on The Natural Lounge Website
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Visit the Curly By Nature Website HERE to sign up to their newsletter

UK entries only, winners to be announced on 21st April

Full Terms and Conditions can be found HERE

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Aviela Shea Butter Products

Me & Patricia

Me & Patricia Monney – Aviela Founder

My current favourite product for moisturising my body is the Avelia Shea Body Butter, I use it every day (Ingredients Butyrospermum Parkii(Shea Butter) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Shea Olien,  and Persia Gratissima (Avocado) Oil).

I first came across the brand at the professional beauty show last year where I met the owner Patricia Monney. Like many a natural entrepreneur Patricia started making her products in her kitchen at home in Hemel Hempstead. This month she shared some delightful news with me so I decided to have a quick catch up with Patricia to find out more…

Patricia Monney

Patricia Monney

So for those who don’t know your brand, Aviela is 9 years old. What inspired you to start?
Aviela Shea butter products started as a result of my daughter Charissa .  Even though I knew a lot about Shea butter because I come from Northern Ghana which is the hub of the Shea tree, I paid no attention to it at all.  But when Charissa was almost 2 years old and was still not walking as a new mum, I became worried.  While on holiday in Ghana I decided to visit a doctor to examine my daughter’s condition. The first doctor I saw confirmed that there was something wrong with her left ankle and she would probably need surgery. He then referred me to a bone specialist. When I met up with the bone specialist, he examined Charissa’s foot and asked me if I had ever heard of Shea butter. I excitedly told him that it was my mum’s favourite remedy for every skin and hair problem she had. He advised me to take Charissa home and massage her ankle with it twice a day and after 2 weeks he would determine whether an operation on her ankle was necessary.

I was quite upset about the prescription I was given and was thinking of not returning to see him. When I got home, I told my mother about my prescription and she said to give it a try. My mother took charge of it and massaged her granddaughter’s ankle with the Shea butter every morning and evening.

Three days afterwards, I saw Charissa on her feet trying to walk. By the 4th day, she was walking without any aid. I was so shocked and could not wait until the following week to see the doctor.

When I met the doctor after two weeks I asked him how the Shea butter had solved the problem. He explained to me that the cartilage in her ankle was very stiff, causing her not to stand properly, but the anti-stiffening agent in the unrefined Shea butter helped to induce some softness into her cartilage which helped her to stand on her feet comfortably, to allow her to walk. That very night when I got home I started calling all my Aunties and Uncles to find out more about Shea butter.  When they told me about some of the benefits and the many ailments it had helped healed I knew I had to find a way of bring it to the whole world.

The stand at the professional beauty event

That is incredible, the power of Shea!! So now you are an expert what is your favourite product in your own range?

I love all the products in the range, and what I use depends on the weather and season, for instance during the winter I can’t live without my body butter and foot butter for my feet, in the spring it will be my lotion and oil, then getting into Autumn it will be the body crème.  As for black soap I use it all throughout the year, morning and night.

So what was the good news?

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That’s fantastic news is it in all Superdrug or are there certain ones we should head into?
Currently our products are being sold on their website, superdrug.com, but Superdrug have 4 types of stores which are respectively the Premium stores, the Prestige stores, the Family stores and the Travel stores, we have had discussions that the products will sit in either the Prestige or Premium stores but most likely in the Prestige stores.  We are still awaiting confirmation as to which stores it will be and where those stores are located.

How important do you think it is for our natural products to get into mainstream stores?
More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of natural products and would want to buy them, but they sometimes find it daunting just to go to natural product websites or stores and get them.  If the product is easily available to them they will much prefer that, so I believe it will be helpful if we made it more easily accessible by putting our products in the mainstream stores so they can easily get want they want and enjoy the benefits natural products has to offer.

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Any advice for a natural product company trying to follow in your footsteps?
We all know that running a business is not easy, but you have to be able to define what you want and what you want your business to achieve, and be persistent and determined in achieving what you want irrespective of what people will say or think of you.  There will be a lot of ‘No’ but just remember that ‘No’ means not now but later.  I initially approached Superdrug a year after I started my business and never got a response, 8 years on I went back again and this time the decision wasn’t difficult for them to make.

Congratulations Patricia.

Readers to find out more you can visit www.aviela.co.uk

You can also visit www.superdrug.com to find the range on their website

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Dark and Lovely Launch a New Natural’s Range

It’s so interesting that brands I am scared of as a natural are coming out with Natural Ranges left right and centre, the latest one I have heard of is the new Dark and Lovely range “Au Naturale’

This advert features the anti breakage range

This advert features the anti breakage range

They say “Unleash your curl power with 6 amazing anti-shrinkage recipes that hydrate and define your lovely locks. Made with Mango Oil and Bamboo Milk, Au Naturale will make always looking fabulous seem, well, natural. From Curl Defining Créme Glaze and 10-in-1 Styles Gelée to Sheen Sealing Nectar and Coil Moisturizing Soufflé nothing will keep you -or your hair – down.”

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This is the Anti Shrinkage Collection

I haven’t seen them in the UK shops yet nor tried any so I don’t know what they are like but they have created a microsite where you can you can get more details, ingredients and videos on how to use them.  So far I do like the packaging.

For more info click here

Have you tried them? will you be trying them?

 

 

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